When you say that an athlete is a team player, it usually involves something like playing another position for a team. But for Okay senior Bailey Walters who plays basketball, softball and volleyball for the Lady Mustangs, that phrase takes on a new meaning as told by her softball and volleyball coach Andrea Collins.
“Last spring we were having trouble getting enough girls out for a softball team and Bailey, who didn’t play softball, liked to hang around the team and even asked me about being a manager. Opening day came and we were still short a player. So I told Bailey I needed her to play in the field and she said ‘Coach, I’ve never played before’. But by the time the season ended, Bailey had played every position except first base. She went wherever I asked her to and even though she hadn’t played and hadn’t intended to play, she did it for our team and that’s the kind of girl Bailey is.”
Even her main sport, volleyball, was something she got into on a whim.
“When I came to Okay in eighth grade, I had no volleyball experience and I just got involved because some of my friends were playing. But once I started playing, I just fell in love with the game,” said Bailey. “The older girls, like Kirsten Anderson, took me under their wing and taught me so much. Me and my best friend Lexi Erb, who is also on our team, just followed and watched Kirsten and the others around that year that they went to state.”
Bailey’s excellence isn’t limited to athletics as she carries a 3.7 GPA in the classroom which her coach appreciates.
“Bailey is an encouraging leader for our team and not bossy and I like that,” said Collins. “She also encourages and pushes them academically and to me that’s just as important as what she does on the court. The last three years we have won the distinguished academic award for Class 3A volleyball from the OSSAA.”
Bailey, who is a member of the student council, FCCLA, National Honor Society and class vice-president, hopes to lead Okay back to the state tournament this year as they are currently ranked fourth in the state in Class 3A. Her plans after high school are undetermined but she has an idea of what her legacy might be.
“I’d like to be remembered as a free spirit go-getter who people could always come to and hopefully will even after I leave.”